This post is a tribute to Mamma HH - someone everyone loved and who touched your life from the moment you met her. Maybe Mary Weinholt felt the same way 100 years ago when she bought Hanworth House in honour of her mother.
This is the story of my mother.
Romana Gabrielli's story began in1938 in Pula, Italy. These were formative years of great hardship, war, little food, no money and maybe then, little hope. A young family was displaced from its tenuous and insecure first home, searching freedom and a better life by passaging through several United Nations refugee camps, simultaneously glued by a great will to stay together as a family.
Romana could have been anything she wanted: she was smart, logical, industrious, convincing, and, sometimes downright conniving. She was stubborn too! Her abilities and people skills gained her employment easily, including the Queensland Catering Company, Electric Power Transmission and the Italian consulate in Brisbane (where she was constantly dismayed by the antics of the diplomats!)
Just look at those hairstyles - Mad Men would be so proud! For a short time, she even hosted a television cooking show in Brisbane, which could have led to a highly successful career, but her love and care of two young children took precedence at that time, and she never looked back
became anincredible dressmaker, winning the praise and admiration of many, and a host of prizes and awards for her designs and outfits.
And, almost 9 months after she died, a beautiful baby girl again, a constant reminder of new life - Niece HH who would have thrilled and fascinated Mamma HH to no end
My mother was the most beautiful person ever -selfless, kindhearted, hardworking, generous and loving . And did I say stubborn? She taught me lessons one can never learn in books – she never shaped my future only supported my choices.
My wedding preparation was nothing short of unfathomable. She made hundreds and hundreds of roses to adorn the church
But she also handpainted every cake box and hymn book, crocheted (when she had never crocheted before!) every bomboniere, and made the bridal dress, 4 bridesmaid dresses, her outfit and that of her mother and even all the lingerie and shoes when we could find none which would measure up to her high and exacting standards.
Mamma HH wasthe perfect embodiment of what a daughter, sister, wife, grandmother and mother should be. If you met her once you could never let her go.
On the night before her celebration of life, my schoolfriend and I cut every rose from those hundreds she made for my wedding to give to those who attended her funeral.
It was little wonder we had none left on that day. How lucky was I to have her in my blessed life?
Hanworth House deserves to be restored, despite any obstacle placed in our way. Ovarian cancer tried to keep her down - but she fought it bravely and decisively until she could no more. She would tell me not to let a fire at Hanworth keep me down - and it won't so long as I use her as my guiding light. Hanworth House is of the stature that only a home which is a Grand Lady and a mother who is a Grand Lady can attest. Bringing them together is my privilege.
Forever rest in peace, my darling Mamma HH
9/11/1938 - 23/5/2012
To watch the video of Romana - A Beautiful Life click here